Have you visited any of these quirky, imaginative, and, sometimes, just plain strange museums? Between vampires and mummies to bad art, broken relationships, and even toilets, these unique places prove that there’s something for everyone when you travel.
What separates museums from other travel tourist sights is their quality of taking something mundane and ordinary, and turning it into something entirely different. No matter how odd, they give memories, people, stories, and things a second chance to tell their history. Not only do they build bridges to the past, but they open windows into worlds we previously couldn’t imagine.
The world’s most unique, interesting, and strange museums will satisfy your curiosities, quench your desire for knowledge, and demand your attention to the extraordinary. Here are 11 you can travel to that expose our darkest secrets and our most brilliant creations:
The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, Japan
I think the name says it all, but this wild, imaginative interactive place is where you learn the importance of invention while making your very own cup of noodles. It’s an engaging environment that teaches you just as much about instant noodles as it does about yourself. Instant noodles have been a pleasure when I don’t feel like cooking. And, who doesn’t love a simple, yummy cup of noodles? How’s this for a quirky travel stop?
This Japanese Ramen pitstop has a mission to show us all that small ideas can lead to big inventions, that people of all ages have the potential to create something amazing, no matter how young. Travel benefit: it’s free admission! Your taste-buds will thank you.
International Spy Museum, United States
The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. became available to the public in 2002. It’s the only one in the United States purely committed to espionage and to educating the public about its long history. It features the largest collection of international spy artifacts ever placed on display for your enjoyment. It has an exhibition all about “Bond…James Bond,” including what they call the “Bond Car” as a part of their enormous collection. You’ll feel like you’re on the set of Casino Royale or Skyfall or even Die Another Day.
Some of the other artifacts are a flashlight gun, lipstick pistol, briefcase recorder, an enigma machine, and an escape boot. What better way to learn about human intelligence and the role of spies? Uncover spy schemes, explore secret lairs, track down the bad guys, and travel to this thrilling place.
The Mummy Museum, Mexico
Located in Guanajuato, it might take the cake for the most shocking in the world. With more than 100 cadavers on display, it has been deemed one of Mexico’s most popular travel attractions. It has nearly 4,000 visitors every single week. Like something out of a horror movie, the mummies have twisted faces, their bodies covered in the clothes in which they were buried, and remain preserved in cases.
Content warning: there will be displays of mummies of pregnant women and children, one that’s the “world’s smallest mummy.” It is definitely fascinating for anyone who likes mummies and who wants to learn more about the natural preservation of bodies. But, it’s not for anyone with a weak stomach. Challenge your fears and travel to Guanajuato to see one of the world’s most strange museums!
Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments, Netherlands
The Torture Museum in Amsterdam gives you a glimpse into the painful past of the Spanish Inquisition. There’s an international exhibition called “Punishments and Verdicts in the Middle Ages,” one that showcases over 40 instruments from various parts of Europe. From the inquisition chair and the guillotine to the skullcracker and thumb screws, you’ll be given incredible historical information about what it took to fight against evil and about the lengths people would go to acquire knowledge from criminals.
This interesting travel stop vividly shows a world without justice. You won’t even want to get close to the side of crime after you step foot into this travel sight. There’s also a souvenir shop to buy torture devices in miniature (not recommended to try on your little brother)! See if you have what it takes to travel back to the Medieval Era!
Cancun Underwater Museum, Mexico
The Cancun Underwater Museum in Mexico (abbreviated MUSA) is probably one of my top favorites. It’s unique and beautiful and stunning in character and display. Today, it has over 500 permanent life-sized sculptures and remains one of the biggest underwater attractions in the world. Between underwater cars and statues to houses and figurines, this gorgeous museum combines art with nature. To travel, you can go on a glass-bottom boat, go scuba diving, take a jungle tour, or go snorkeling (a top pick for travel adventurers).
The mission of the Cancun Underwater Museum is to show us the connection between art, science, and natural pieces of the environment, all blending to create structures that speak to us on a deep level about the beauty of our natural world. The underwater displays are fixed to the bottom floor of the sea and are made from special materials to stimulate coral life, artistic figures that not only are pleasing to the eye, but beneficial to the marine environment. Dive under the surface to see these strange, yet extraordinary underwater masterpieces!
Vent Haven Ventriloquist Museum, United States
Vent Haven in Kentucky is the only one of its kind. With more than 800 ventriloquist figures, photos, letters, and a library of “vent-related” books, it will either creep you out or pleasantly surprise you. If you’re not one for puppets or dolls that have startling, human-like characteristics then it may not be your travel cup of tea.
Today, more than a thousand visitors travel to Vent Haven every year to see this attraction. It holds an annual conVENTion for more than 600 ventriloquists around the world to showcase their talents and their artistry. It’s also intended as a retirement home, in a way, or a haven, for ventriloquist dummies no longer performing. Travel to one of the most strange museums to see them come to life once again!
Museum of Broken Relationships, Croatia
The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb is all about the individual: what we experience, the way we love and lose, how we cope with falling in love and falling out of it, and how we choose to sow our heart strings back together, more vulnerable and prepared to face the world than before. It treasures and shares stories of loss, one that displays trinkets (dedicated anonymously) of past relationships, present romances, and future hopes. It’s a place that centers itself around the importance of defining who we are as human beings, chances to overcome emotional times through creativity and art.
It shows us the range of human emotion, and promises that life goes on even in the face of hardship. We love and we learn and we move on. And, other times, we just keep falling for the person with which we spend the rest of our lives. Either way, it demonstrates that experiences are universal. Travel here and you’ll re-live some of the most happy (and maybe, most sad moments) of your life, all of which have shaped you into the person you are today.
The Museum of Bad Art, United States
The Museum of Bad Art in Massachusetts dedicates itself to showcasing the collection, preservation, exhibition, and celebration of bad art in all its glory. These pieces are seriously too awful to be ignored. If I knew my lack of artistic skills would be this highly praised, I would have pursued art a long time ago! It’s the only one that strives to bring the bench-warmers of the art industry to the spotlight, one that allows this priceless collection of bad art to come to an international travel audience for all to see.
Its collection includes art from different categories: portraiture, landscape, unseen forces, seascapes and still-lifes, in the “nood,“ blue people, poor traits, here the symbols crash, and recent acquisitions. It has something for everyone! So, travel to Massachusetts to experience one of the world’s strangest museums!
Le Musée des Vampires, France
The Museum of Vampires in Les Lilas, near the outer edges of Paris, is a small, travel tourist favorite that studies vampires and their place in folklore and modern culture, the role vampires play in both film and literature, and what their history says about human interests as a whole. Visiting may be a bit difficult for non-French speakers, but it’s definitely worth the stop if you’re an avid fan of the vamps.
The guides are knowledgeable on all things vampire and witch, and will help navigate you through this unusual, but fascinating spot. On your France travels, be sure to visit Les Musée des Vampires for a unique, travel experience of a lifetime!
Icelandic Phallological Museum, Iceland
The Icelandic Phallological Museum in Reykjavík, Iceland is the only museum to house a collection of phallic specimens from many mammal species in countries around the world. Yes, you read correctly! Penises! This strange place has a collection of more than 215 penile parts coming from almost all of the mammals in Iceland.
The jokes are infinite here, but even though this strange museum showcases a lot of morning wood, the institution takes the science of phallology very seriously, as it exposes more knowledge about understanding the human body and our physiological pasts. It’s truly an extraordinary display that you’ve probably never seen before in your lifetime! Travel to Iceland to see one of the quirkiest museums for yourself!
Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, India
The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in New Delhi has a rare collection of photos, facts, and artifacts that trace the evolution of toilets from 2500 B.C. to present day. Exhibitions include information about technology, social customs, toilet etiquette, sanitary conditions, and more throughout history. It also highlights privies, chamber pots, toilet furniture, and water closets from different periods of time.
Its mission is to make us aware of what the world looked like in absence of water closets and how timely innovations have changed the course of social advancement. Follow the chronology of toilets but don’t flush through the exhibits too quickly!
Happy travel to these incredible museums?
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